Weekly: This Week in History

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June 28, 1776: The first draft of the Declaration of Independence is written -- on Dutch hemp paper. A second draft, the version released on July 4, is also written on hemp paper. The final draft is copied from the second draft onto animal parchment.

June 30, 1906: Congress passes the "Pure Food and Drug Act."

July 1, 1930: The Porter Act establishes the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), an agency independent of the Department of the Treasury's Prohibition Unit and consequently unaffected by the passage of the Twenty-First Amendment. Harry J. Anslinger is named acting commissioner, a position he remains in for the next thirty years.

June 29, 1938: The Christian Century reports, "in some districts inhabited by Latino Americans, Filipinos, Spaniards, and Negroes, half the crimes are attributed to the marijuana craze."

July 1, 1973: The Drug Enforcement Administration is established by President Nixon, intended to be a "super-agency" capable of handling all aspects of the drug problem. DEA consolidates agents from BNDD, Customs, the CIA, and ODALE, and is headed by Myles Ambrose.

June 27, 1991: The Supreme Court upholds, in a 5-4 decision, a Michigan statute imposing a mandatory sentence of life without possibility of parole for anyone convicted of possession of more than 650 grams (about 1.5 pounds) of cocaine.

July 1, 1998: DEA Chief Thomas Constantine is quoted, "[In] my era everybody smoked and everybody drank and there was no drug use."

July 2, 1999: Robert Vorbeck, 38, is arrested for allegedly selling cocaine to undercover officers. Facing life in prison if convicted of felony drug charges, he commits suicide in his jail cell 11 days later. On July 10, 2001, the AP reports that his estate has been ordered to pay $750,000 to the Nassau County, New York district attorney's office. The ruling, part of a settlement in a civil forfeiture case, is the first in the state in which a prosecutor seeks assets from a dead person.

June 27, 2001: A Newsday article titled "Census: War on Drugs Hits Blacks," reports: Black men make up less than 3 percent of Connecticut's population but account for 47 percent of inmates in prisons, jails and halfway houses, 2000 census figures show.

July 1, 2001: Portugal introduces Europe's most liberal drug policy to date with the implementation of new laws establishing no criminal penalties for using and possessing small amounts of not only cannabis but also hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin and amphetamines.

June 27, 2002: In Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County v. Earls, the Supreme Court decides 6-3 to uphold the most sweeping drug-testing policy yet to come before the Court -- a testing requirement for any public school student seeking to take part in any extracurricular activity, the near-equivalent of a universal testing policy.

July 3, 2003: The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) announces the results of a California Latino voter poll: 65% oppose jailing young, first-time marijuana sellers, 85% oppose jail for marijuana possession, and 58% oppose jail for possession of "hard drugs."

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